Norway - Norwegians - Christmas - Northern Lights - God Jul
"The deepest form of Love is curiosity" - Iordan
Where should I start from - let's start with the dream - In 2015 my friend from Romania shared one of her picture of a cruise journey which she did in Norway with big mountains in the background.We later talked about Norway, it's very beautiful nature, culture, people, why Norway is a paradise for all nature lovers - specially Lofoten Islands & Northern Norway and from then on it kind of stayed with me in my heart.
I started working on the trip and in Jan'16 things started to fall in place, then in July'16 trip was on paper and ready to go. 7 people signed up for the trip coming from different parts of India and finally, the dream became reality on 17th Dec'16 when we reached Oslo.The journey was long, beautiful and equally tuff but well worth the ride.
Oslo - The capital of Norway, we finally met. Oslo is a beautiful city to be in Norway.All travellers met in Oslo at the hostel and without wasting time we were out to explore Karl Johans Gate - one of the main street of Oslo - we walked all the way up to Royal Palace, the streets were all lit up full of lights , people all around shopping and enjoying as Christmas was around the corner. It was cold - but the traveler inside did not stop and we headed to see one of the oldest church in Oslo only to find out it was closed but we got to see the cemetery next to it which was very beautiful - we walked among dead with few beers at the same time knowing all the other people part of the trip.
In evening we head to Grunerløkka another beautiful and very happening district of Oslo city - we hopped few bars, ate some good food and enjoyed the cold. It had been a long travel for everyone from India - few headed back to the hostel for rest and few continued exploring the night.
Oslo is a great city to be and Norwegians feel very happy it is their capital city. I wish we could have explored Oslo a little more as we had only half daytime on our watch and next morning we were on our way to our 2nd stop, Bergen.We took the train from Oslo to Bergen and what a ride it was - one of the most scenic train rides you can come across - everyone in the group looking out of their windows - dreaming, tripping on nature. Rides like these don't come often in life.
Bergen - the city known as the gateway to Fjords, city with mountains in the backdrop, known for old and very beautiful Bryggen area, fish market and old wooden houses in Nordness part of the city - no doubt this city is always a must to go when exploring Norway.
Bergen started with a good meal at a small cafe right next to our hostel "Bergen YMCA" where the whole group was finally together - as one of our travelers due to flight issues missed Oslo city and met us directly in Bergen. Again without wasting any time we were off to explore the city - everyone headed to explore Ginger factory and I was off to explore Bryggen part of Bergen which is known for unique wooden houses, small cafes, bars and small boutique shops tucked in small corners. Every house was beautifully decorated with lights & stars because of Christmas , I roamed all around like a child thinking where in the world I am , so very different from mine - I felt I am part of some dream and all of a sudden I thought of heading to St Mary's Church the very 1st building commissioned in Bergen and while I was searching on the map in rain the location of the church - I heard the bell ringing for Sunday mass at 6 pm - I followed the sound and I was at the oldest church and I got a chance to pray with hundreds of Norwegians and that too in English. It was Christmas time - one of the most joyful time to be in Europe.
In all of this I got a chance to meet a Norwegian women at church and she introduced me to Norwegian culture which later followed by a long walk towards Mt.Fløyen my next destination - I dropped her home and was joined by other co-travellers in Funicular to head to Fløyfjellet the high point of mountain Fløyen from where you get panoramic views of the city. Bergen in the night from the top of the mountain looks magical.We headed back to the city to meet others and night passed by with a good meal and few drinks.
Next day started early with a hike to Fløyfjellet - Mt.Fløyen - hiking has always been fun where nature is your constant companion - morning view was equally mesmerising - later we headed back to the city to meet other travellers who were heading to go up the mountain to experience funicular ride - we all had a quick breakfast and some were off to mountain and some were off to Nordness - which is another beautiful and very old part of Bergen - it's a maze of Old wooden houses with unique design, graffiti on walls, small cafes & shops - places like these can only be explored when you get lost and while we were on our way to Nordness another crazy experience we had - A girl comes running to us asking for help - she had only 10 min left for her ship leaving from Bergen port and asked us to carry her heavy bags till the port and we without thinking just started running after her - 3 people me , Vishesh and Maria running like cats & dogs - but hard luck we missed the entry time and that's how we met Maria Oftedal - who later explored Nordness with us. Crazy people meet crazy people.We headed back to city center enjoyed some good food, drinks and day came to an end when we boarded the train to our next destination - Trondheim.
Trondheim - What should I say - Looking back today I feel going to this city was one of the best decisions for this trip, the city very well known for its famous old warehouses lined up across Old Bridge, small canals and Nidaros Cathedral which holds such great history.
Our start in Trondheim was not that great - we had a rough start - group wanted to do a Northern light chase in Trondheim and I did not - because chasing Northern lights in Trondheim was never the plan and the city had other things to offer which other people were not interested.So the whole evening got kind of messy and weird.
Next day started off early with a long walk till the Old bridge from where you get an amazing view of wharves - wooden houses & orange sky just made it more amazing.The day further followed with a hike to Egon restaurant from where you get panoramic views of the whole city - great fun it was, which was followed by another hike all the way to korsvika beach - a good 40 min walk - where we luckily got a chance to meet 7 Norwegian women who meet every Wednesday evening for a swim at the beach even in winters when water is insanely chilly, very spontaneously they invited me to take a swim with them and I without thinking jumped in - boom man it was crazy - but it was a great experience to share no doubt. Later we all sat together, drank hot wine and sung songs for one of our Norwegian friend Birthday.The day did not end there - on our way back to hostel Just imagine - we saw the "Northern lights"- a pure game of destiny. What more do you want and with this great feeling we were off to our next destination Bodø which was our pit stop before we reach our final destination Tromsø.
Bodø was a surprise waiting for all of us - we never had a plan to party in Bodø.It all turned the other way around we got a chance to party with lot of nice people and above all we experienced the natural phenomena of tidal current change - SAILSTARUMA - whatever time we got in Bodø was great and in afternoon we were on our way to Tromsø by Hurtigruten ship which was going through Lofoten Islands - very beautiful side of Norway.
Everyone had a killer time on the ship from chilling at the deck to celebrating Christmas with Norwegians - decorating the Christmas tree - experiencing panoramic mountain views -exploring unknown villages in the night - everything was perfect. For me personally, A great moment came when I decorated the Christmas tree for the very 1st time in my life understanding the value of it - It was a great moment.
Soon we reached Tromsø - a city with mountains in the backyard - capital of North Norway - also called the gateway to Arctic and perfect for watching Northern Lights too and that's why we were there for Northern Lights and also to enjoy the Christmas vibe.
The whole city was in a festive mood with all houses and streets decorated with lights, more beautiful thing happened it started snowing from the day we came to the city and as Norwegians say there is no Christmas without snow in Tromsø. The whole city looked so beautiful when it get's covered in snow. Long walks in the snow, exploring, meeting new people and enjoying Christmas in the city was great fun.
Finally, the night came of which everyone had been tripping on for long - the night we chased the Northern Lights #Aurora Borealis- All 8 loaded in the car and off to find the place from where we can get the best view of the light and we were so damn lucky.In just 10 min of us getting out of the city we were able to witness the magical " Aurora Borealis " - we could see the green marks of it in the sky , we started chasing it and found a sweet spot from where we can enjoy the show and from the minute when we reached that place - all of a sudden it started dancing in full glory with various shades of colours , it's like a Green snake moving/dancing all over the sky - changing it's colour to red, green, pink & purple. It was Christmas evening - Lord Jesus was happy and painting the sky on Christmas night. What more do you want - we came all the way from India to experience this and It did not stop there when we changed our spot and went more away from the city where we had no light pollution.We again saw a magical show - in that moment you can't believe what's happening. We all were shouting, jumping in our thermal suits, running to get our pictures clicked - A great moment it was. It was a pleasure to watch the whole show and with that, we all felt it was well worth the trip all the way from India. We finally chased the Northern Lights from Oslo to Tromsø.
Special thanks to Northern Shots tour for the great tour and above all, All the travelers for being part of this trip. I was happy everyone got to see the Northern Lights.
Travelers: Rachita Arya, Aparna Ashok, Aradhana Tewari, Neha Yardi, Archie Mohapatra, Kartik Jain, Vishesh Bhutani - Thank you all - You all are part of Norway Chapter of Travel to Discover.
Great fun it was - Norway has made a special place in my heart as I have connected with people on a family level and sooner or later I will meet Norway. Until next time. It was a pleasure to travel in Norway. India meets Norway and we connected. Big thanks to my friend from Zarnesti - The reason behind the dream.
Love - Travel to Discover - Everything happens for a reason, Love & Hope always #Mutlumesc #TeIubesc